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Stoner leaves the Island as frontrunner again

Stoner leaves the Island as frontrunner again

The World Champion Casey Stoner completed his work early on the final day of 2008's second MotoGP test, topping the timesheet by nearly a second over his closest rival.

The World Champion Casey Stoner completed his work early on the final day of 2008's second MotoGP test, topping the timesheet by nearly a second over his closest rival.

The Ducati Marlboro rider who won at his home circuit in last October's Grand Prix visit, having already clinched the title, had notched a time of 1'28.777 on qualifiers before lunch and went on to enjoy a highly satisfactory race simulation in the afternoon – wrapping up his work for the week by 4pm.

After some minor problems in Sepang last week for Ducati, Stoner will be pleased to have been 0.957s clear at the top of the timesheet here with a lap which is two tenths faster the Nicky Hayden's 2006 official circuit best lap.

Stoner's race simulation saw him produce a flawless string of fast laps, with several under the 1'30.332 circuit record held by his new team-mate Marco Melandri, to end three positive days for the MotoGP title holder on home soil.

Second on the timesheet was Hayden himself, his hot lap coming on the potent Michelin qualifying tyre, but despite doubling the amount of laps put in by Stoner the 2006 World Champion will still feel there is work to do on his race set-up when he compares his overall times with those of the young Australian pace setter.

Meanwhile, continuing his steady but considerable progress as a MotoGP newcomer, rookie James Toseland has again impressed this week ‘Down Under' and he concluded proceedings as the third fastest participant with a qualifying tyre lap just 0.020s slower than Hayden's. The Englishman also demonstrated good pace on race tyres and his diligent work is earning respect within the Yamaha Tech3 team and beyond.

Like Toseland, fellow premier class rookie Andrea Dovizioso has visited Phillip Island several times previously on different machinery, but until this week the Italian has not been a huge fan of the circuit. He has produced decent times over the last three days and ends the week fourth on the timesheet with a similar lap time to Toseland.

Behind JiR Team Scot's ‘Dovi' and new Tech3 colleague Toseland, Colin Edwards completed a top five of riders who went under the 1'30 mark with a best effort of the day on the last of his 56 laps, which had been completed by 2pm, as the experienced Texan rounded off his work early in the afternoon.

Further details and reaction from the Phillip Island test will follow later in the day on, including exclusive interviews from the Australian venue.

Phillip Island MotoGP 2008 winter test – day three – best lap times (Number of laps in brackets)

1. STONER, DUCATI MARLBORO - 01'28.777 (51)
2. HAYDEN, REPSOL HONDA TEAM - 01'29.734 (102)
3. TOSELAND, YAMAHA TECH3 - 01'29.754 (89)
4. DOVIZIOSO, JiR TEAM SCOT - 01'29.780 (90)
5. EDWARDS, YAMAHA TECH3 - 01'29.795 (56)
6. VERMEULEN, RIZLA SUZUKI - 01'30.216 (73)
7. DE ANGELIS, HONDA GRESINI - 01'30.438 (91)
8. NAKANO, HONDA GRESINI - 01'30.728 (89)
9. ELIAS, ALICE TEAM - 01'30.966 (97)
10. DE PUNIET, LCR HONDA MotoGP - 01'30.978 (115)
11. GUINTOLI, ALICE TEAM - 01'30.983 (58)
12. MELANDRI, DUCATI MARLBORO - 01'31.377 (108)
13. CAPIROSSI, RIZLA SUZUKI - 01'31.508 (75)
14. WEST, KAWASAKI RACING - 01'31.957 (90)

MotoGP, 2008

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